|This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from April 1st 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson|
In this edition of Wavescan, we wind up our mini-series on the radio broadcasting scene over the years in the islands of Fiji. In the three previous topics in this series, we have presented:-
- The early radio scene in Fiji
- Fiji on Shortwave; and
- Fiji on Mediumwave.
Now for Topic 4. Back around half a century ago, two new varieties of mosquito were discovered in the islands of Fiji in the South Pacific. One important new variety of mosquito, which is found only in Fiji, was discovered in 1954 and given an identification name, using scientific Latin.
Some ten years earlier, there was another variety of mosquito that was airborne in Fiji and this new variety was given a four letter identification. No, this other mosquito was not a biting insect, but rather an exotic new radio station. This is what happened.
Some time during the month of May in the year 1945, this new radio station was launched in Nadi (NAHN-dee) which is located on the western edge of the main island, Viti Levu (VEE-TEE le-VOO). This coastal city lies some 50 miles across the island from the capital city, Suva.
This new AFRS station was owned and operated at the time by I&E, the Information and Entertainment Service for American servicemen in the Pacific. It would be presumed that this station was located on or near the air field at Nadi.
The first broadcast from this new AFRS station with the American callsign, WVUT, was noted in May 1945. The transmitter was a 50 watt unit, commercially made in the United States with the model number 191. The operating channel was 665 kHz.
When station WVUT in Fiji first made its appearance on the radio dial, it was officially listed by AFRS headquarters in Los Angeles California as a member of the now famed Mosquito Network. This Mosquito Network was a a loose association of AFRS stations located on some of the smaller island groups in the Pacific during the latter part of the Pacific War. Other stations in the Mosquito Network were:-
- WVUQ Solomon Islands
- WVUR New Hebrides (HEB-ri-DEEZ)
- WVUS Noumea
- WVUV American Samoa
- Navy American Samoa
- 1ZM Auckland New Zealand; and of course,
- WVUT Fiji.
In March 1946, station WVUT in Fiji left the Mosquito Network when it was taken over by AACS, the American Army Communications System.
Even though the station WVUT was low powered at only 50 watts, it was heard on many occasions in Australia and New Zealand. The last reported logging was in October 1946 in New Zealand, and it is presumed that the station closed soon afterwards.
Just a few QSL letters were issued by the American station WVUT in British Fiji, and some of these are now lodged in the massive collection of Pacific Radio Heritage in the Hocken Library in Dunedin, south New Zealand.
Fiji on Mediumwave – AFRS Station Mosquito Network
Station Location Year Event
WVUT Nadi 1945 May 50 w 660 kHz first broadcast
1946 Mar Transfer from Mosquito Network to AACS
1946 Oct Last known logging in New Zealand Close
Fiji on Mediumwave
AFRS Station – Mosquito Network
Call Location Information & Reference
Mosquito Network Article, Time magazine, July 17, 1944
WVUT Nadi Model 191 transmitter 665 kHz 50 w; BSOTW Hocken
WVUT Nadi Mosquito WVUQ WVUR WVUS WVUT WVUV Navy 1ZM
WVUT Nadi Mosquito Network; WWW
WVTU ? Nadi 50 w 660 kHz May 1945 – ?; DeLay 79.21 446
WVUT Nadi QSL letter 22-11-45 660 50 191 transmitter; MB Hocken
WVUT Nadi AFRS 655 kHz 50 w 1946; BSOTW Hocken
WVUT Nadi New station 665 kHz LI 79.24 5-1-46
WVUT Nadi 665 kHz; LI 12-1-46
WVUT Nadi 50 w Mosquito Network; YB 84.200 199 B&TV 21-1-46
WVUT Nadi 665 kHz 50 w; Tune In, 31-3-46 2
WVUT Nadi Drop Mosquito, now AACS; LI 79.24 27-4-46
WVUT Nadi 665 kHz 50 w; LI 79.24 30-4-46
WVUT Nadi No longer with Mosquito Network; LI 4-5-46
WVUT Nadi Now with Army Airways Communication System; LI 4-5-46
WVUT Nadi 665 kHz 50 w; R&H 77/10 5-46 67
WVUT Nadi 660 heard in NZ Sep; LI 2-11-46
WVUx Pacific Address C/- War Dept Radio Stations, APO 708